Letters to the Church Magazine: January 2018

Dear Everyone

When you read this, I will be away for a couple of weeks, recharging after what has been a challenging Advent and Christmas – albeit a most rewarding one.

I would like to thank our organists, without whom I would be able to bring the church music into the 19th Century; the Church Wardens, who never fail to phone me up, at whatever hour of the day or night, to tell me which church roof has sprung a leak; and Rob Ridout, thanks to whose tractor driving I have been late for services on average 45% of the time.

Of course, at this time we think about New Year Resolutions.  And I am going to make some this year:

  1. To reduce my Hula Hoops dependency
  2. To preach more sermons that mention God
  3. Actually to get a Monday off every week
  4. To improve my church life balance.

I apologise for the lateness of the rotas for January-March. However I assure you I will email them to all Church Officers by Wednesday at the latest.

Yours on the beach (though actually hiding in the garage)

Revd Nathan, The Rectory, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

The trees in the parish churchyard go from strength to strength! The way the line of conifers both protects “God’s Acre” from the weather, and yet acts as a backdrop to the gravestones, is really inspired. I remember when they were planted many people protested about this. How short-sighted they were.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House.


Dear Sir

I notice that over the last year, the number of people attending St Jude’s is 26. Last year it was 27.

Admit it – somebody has died, and it is being covered up.

Yours with the stats

Philemon Doyle, Chestnut Lane, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Over the last year, we have lost Revd Joanna to a new job. And yet Revd Nathan has still failed to visit every house in the benefice. A task which, by encouraging more people to attend church, would actually lighten his load. He points to the 30 Sunday services per month and the daily offices that he leads – and the needs of his congregation, some of whom require visiting in hospital, the two schools, the various local committees of which he is a member and the admin.

But all I can say is, if you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out. Stop whinging and start grafting, Nathan!

Yours etc

Charmander McBrayne, Woodby Lane, Grilsby


Dear Sir

As we carolled around the Tremletts before Christmas, I noticed a number of people had sprigs of mistletoe, either hung over the doors or just inside the hallways.

Checking over the following nights with a high-powered telescope from the church roof (the highest point in the village) I confirmed that many others have mistletoe in their lounges or other houses.

I expect the vileness to be stamped out when the vicar returns. What sort of village do we live in, where people are kissing?

And what is worse, I have only surveyed half the village. When I saw what was going on through the upstairs window of “Rosebud Cottage”, I toppled over the parapet and spent Christmas Week itself in traction. Disgusting.

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

I have been made aware that I have upset the Vicar. I had not noticed at the time, but now I am aware I apologise profusely.

That Russian damson rum my niece bought me as a present was quite warming. I therefore thought it wise to have a few glasses before the Christmas morning service. As a result, I accused the vicar of being a “relic of English feudalism, drinking the blood of the peasant poor while raking in 10% of their earnings, in a line of vampires going back to the Monks of Thorney.” I also encouraged him to flee the valley before we collectivised the vicarage garden and installed Dr Ireland as a replacement clergy.

I have also inadvertently given Dr Ireland some inspiration, to judge by the way she banned Canon Westcliffe from the pulpit this morning and instead preached her own sermon, “The 40 worse sins and who in Tremlett is committing each.” Not the usual happy sermon for the Sunday after Christmas we expect.

Yours etc

Major J Dumpling, “Rodney’s Rest”, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again, Cadbury Creme Eggs will be on sale as of January 1. This gives you precisely 3 months to eat as many as possible before Easter. I recommend a couple for breakfast.

Yours etc

Solomon Snodgrass, Station Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again I am taking advantage of the vicar’s absence to advertise our special Imbolc Service. Starting at 11.30pm on February 1st. Clothing is strictly optional, but we will be holding it in Woodby Reading Room. We aren’t as young as we used to be.

Yours etc

Mildred Flossett (Mothers’ Union Branch Secretary), Jasmine Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

I note that once again Revd Nathan is not in the New Year’s Honours List.

This is a bit radical, but I suggest that Revd Nathan starts living like Jesus: loving the poor, preaching brilliant sermons, radically reinventing an old religious tradition.

It’s only slight chance. But it might work.

Yours etc

Gabrielle Fitch Thompson, the Old Market House, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

What a lovely Christmas Nativity Play that was! Seeing the little ones so nervous, and yet so proud as they told us the greatest story every told! And what a nice twist – the Hatchimals in the stable along with the ox and ass. You have to move with the times, while keeping the important ingredients of the season.

Although I am a regular Christmas attendee, I will certainly be joining the congregation more often in the New Year!

Yours etc

Jasmine Jones, “Chitterings”, Wheezy Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Too late to say I love you
Too late to restage the play
Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

A new year brings a new one of my famous “vicar jokes.

Q: What’s black and white and can’t be seen?

A: The vicar hiding from everybody on his week off.

Yours etc

Tom Chancellor, Primrose Path, Woodby


Dear Sir

A poem at the end of another year of goodbyes.

“2017”

Jane Freeman, our Ivy from the caff
Peter Sallis who gave us all a laff*

Gorden Kaye from ‘Allo ‘Allo
Chuck Berry, who’d Go, Johnny, Go.

Roger Moore,one eyebrow raised
Colin Dexter, whose “Morse” was praised.

Keith Chegwin, who went on telly nude
Angus Young, whose songs could be rude.

Fats Domino rests on Blueberry Hill
David Cassidy, sadly now still.

Charles Manson, the evil long-time lag
John Surtees has seen the final chequered flag.

Hywell Bennett: Shelley will be missed
Tara Palmer Tompkinson, who was also often on TV.

Adam West: “Biff! Bop! Pow!”
Tom Petty has broke our hearts now.

Death death death
death death death
death death death.
Death.

* Authentic Yorkshire dialect 

Wishing you a joyful 2018.

Mellissa Sparrow (Mrs), The Hollow, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


procession OHPIt is too late to buy ” Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews” in time for Christmas now. Unless you are a time traveller. But it would make a lovely Easter present, wouldn’t it? Or maybe you have some book or Amazon vouchers as Christmas presents. If you do, then this will make you laugh, think or possibly gnaw the back of the pew in front. Written by the creator of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley. With cartoons by Dave Walker.

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Notices : w/c 31 December

Sunday: Please note that the Vicar is on holiday. Therefore all the services will be led properly by our former minister, Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe.

Please also note that the Vicar has rather unwisely shared his password so this website can be updated. We have taken the opportunity to plan a few events while he is away.

Monday: Prayer for the Vicar to improve. Dr Ireland’s House, Dunphlebbin, Gt Tremlett. 8pm.

Tuesday: Prayer for the Vicar to develop some vision. Details as above.

Wednesday: Prayer for the Vicar to gain discernment. Details as above.

Thursday: Prayer for the Vicar to read the Bible in the right way.

Friday: Prayer for a new Vicar if all else fails.

Saturday: Meeting to develop a new Parish Profile. Just in case none of the other prayers has the right effect. Details as above.

Sunday 7th: Epiphany (transferred from 6th). We remember how important to the church’s mission it is to have wise men. Services at 8am (Woodby Chapel); 9 am (Gt Tremlett); 10.30 (Lt Tremlett); 4pm (Woodby); 6pm (Grilsby-on-the-Hill) led by Canon Westcliffe. Unless something unfortunate happens to him.


procession OHPIt is too late to buy ” Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews” in time for Christmas now. Unless you are a time traveller. But it would make a lovely Easter present, wouldn’t it? Or maybe you have some book or Amazon vouchers as Christmas presents. If you do, then this will make you laugh, think or possibly gnaw the back of the pew in front. Written by the creator of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley. With cartoons by Dave Walker.

Trim Valley Notices: Week Commencing 24th December

This week and next are among the holiest weeks of the year. A time that includes St Stephen’s Day; St John the Evangelist; Holy Innocents; Thomas Becket; the Name of Jesus; and the Epiphany. A time for reflecting on the Incarnation and praising God.

After Christmas Day, there will no weekday services until 12 January. Sunday services on 31st December and 7 January will be led by our previous minister, Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe. There are no other events.

That’s it. Nothing else happening. The Vicar is going on retreat. Or, to be more accurate, going to be spending a week in a Wetherspoons on the East Coast followed by a week hiding from Parishioners by only ever going out at night.


escaped donkeyIt is too late to buy ” Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews” in time for Christmas now. But it would make a lovely Easter present, wouldn’t it? Or maybe you have some book or Amazon vouchers as Christmas presents.

Trim Valley Notices w/c 17 December

There are no notices this week. I have spent every waking moment since last Sunday at some kind of Christmassy event. So I’ve not had time to organise. This morning’s sermon, at whatever churches I am at, will be the same sermon as every year’s John the Baptist sermon.
If you want to go to some kind of event over the next week, just go to one of the churches. Something will either happen, be happening or have just happened.

Revd Nathan

Trim Valley Notices w/c 10 December

All services are on today. Canon Westcliff never missed a service, even when he had smallpox. So why should Nathan? Please keep in touch via the benefice Facebook page. It hasn’t been updated since 2013, but that’s the last time it snowed like this. So the pictures should tell you roughly what’s going on.

Sunday (Advent 2) 6pm – Benefice Carol Service, Gt Tremlett

Monday 10am – Christmas Assembly at St Mary’s for the school. Please bring a spade.

Tuesday – Christmas Quiz at the Hanged Man 8pm. First prize a gallon of the house beer

Parish wine and carols – Grilsby, 7pm

Wednesday – Panto rehearsals, Lt Tremlett Hall, 6.30 until the producer throws a wobbly. At which point we retire to the Hanged Man to bitch about him.

Thursday – Guides and Brownies Christmas Party, 7pm, Church Hall, Gt Tremlett. Followed by drinks for the leaders in the Hanged Man.

Melissa Sparrow reads from her Christmas compilation, “Frozen in the Snow”, Gt Tremlett Church, 8pm. Mince pies and Major Dumpling’s “Special Punch”.

Friday -Mince Pies and Wine, the Vicarage, 7pm

Carol Singing, The Quiet Woman, 8pm

Saturday: Choirboy Tipping, St Agnes’s Hill, 3pm. Followed by the traditional “Wine and Wine” party at Woodby Chapel End Reading Room.

Carol Singing, the War Memorial, 5pm. Mulled wine and mince pies provided.

Nativity Play, Woodby, 6pm

Alternative Christingle, Grilsby, 7pm – please bring a pumpkin.

Sunday (Advent 3) – Special sermon – “Advent: a Sober Time to Step Back and Contemplate”.

 


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious

escaped donkey

that an author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pewsis probably the book for you.

Written by the creator of this blog, with cartoons by Dave Walker. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. And don’t forget it’s nearly Christmas!

Trim Valley Notices: w/c 3 December

As we enter the time of Advent, we recognise that it is a quiet time. A reflective time. A time not of celebration: that is for Christmas. But of pausing, repenting, preparing.

Sunday

8pm : Christmas Quiz, Lt Tremlett Church Hall. Please bring your own alcohol.

Monday

Gt Tremlett Quire Christmas Party. 7pm, Church Hall

Woodby Chapel End Ladies’ Bright Hour Christmas Dinner. The Quiet Woman, 7.30pm

Tuesday

Trim Valley Trotters Christmas Dinner. The Hanged Man, 7pm

Wednesday

Christmas Tree Festival starts (till Sunday evening). Fireworks at 6pm, Woodby Green. Mistletoe, wine and mince pies in the Church from 7.

Thursday

Wassailing – Grove’s Orchard, Gt Tremlett, 7pm. Thanks to Mr Grove for supplying the cider brandy.

Friday

St Mary’s School Christmas Show. 7pm

Grilsby Christmas Disco: It’s 80s night! So bring the wine and we’ll supply the misteltoe! 9pm till late in the Church Hall.

Saturday

“Old Time Christmas Fayre”, Woodby Reading Room, 3pm. The Quiet Woman Inn will be supplying their mobile bar. Wuzzy’s West Gallery Angels will be supplying the dance music from 7pm. It’s gonna be a long night!

Christingle, St Mary’s Tremlett, 6pm

Pizza Eating Contest, Lt Tremlett Hall, 7pm


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious

escaped donkey

that an author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pewsis probably the book for you.

Written by the creator of this blog, with cartoons by Dave Walker. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. And don’t forget it’s nearly Christmas!

Letters to the Church Magazine : December 2017

Dear Sir

I see that the Government has managed to negotiate a 50bn bill to leave the European Union, despite the “Leave” campaign – for which I worked assiduously – having promised we would have an extra £350m per week, or possibly per month, for the National Health Service.

I forget the details, they are unimportant. The important thing is that we will no longer be giving money to the EUSSR – except the money they will demand for access to the Single Market countries – and will not have to do what they say, unless we want to sell them things in which case, as a small country dealing with 27 others, we will have no choice but to cave in.

Yet the Vicar has said nothing about the great things we have achieved! What is he? Some kind of traitor whose views will only damage this country?

Yours etc

Marais de Sandeman, The Old Brewhouse, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

As we we approach Christmas, some villagers have been hanging mistletoe in their doorways.

Not only is kissing an unhygienic practice, spreading cold sores and glandular fever, but it is also an occasion of great sin. Yet the Vicar has failed week after week to condemn it.

I have therefore established the Trim Valley Anti-Kissing League. We have already burnt down four so-called “kissing gates” on the public footpaths, and our next target will be the sprig of mistletoe in the “Hanged Man.” And don’t think the contraceptive machine in the ladies’ toilets will go unscathed.

Yours etc

Dr Sandra Ireland, “Dunphlebbin’”, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

With Revd Joanna having left, I was expecting to get the call from Revd Nathan to assist him in his busy schedule over Christmas. However, it would appear that he has changed his email address, his post is not getting through and he has gone ex-directory, as nothing I do to try to get through to him is working.

Indeed, I went round to the New Vicarage to visit him. But a voice through the letter box told me that he had been kidnapped.

It is all most strange. I have just received a note through the door, to ask if I will take the services on the Sunday after Christmas. Of course I will. I am particularly looking forward to reintroducing the Antiochene Rite that I used to use at Grilsby.

Yours etc

Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe (Retd) (But still available for occasional offices), The Old Vicarage, Woodby


Dear Sir

While rehearsing my reading for the Carol Service, I notice that Mary is described as a virgin.

Does the vicar not realise how unlikely it is, in these circumstances, that she should become pregnant? They’ll be telling us that angels exist next.

Yours etc

Ranulf Bling, Station Road, Great Tremlett


Dear Sir

I am planning to make it along to Church for Christmas morning.

However I noticed at Easter that the cushion in the Cholmondely Pew is a little tatty. I enclose a £5 note – if someone could run me up a new one? Maybe that nice young curate, Joanna?

Yours etc

Rt Hon Alicia Cholmondley-Cholmonley, Cholmondeley Manor, Woodby Chapel End.


Dear Sir

Advent, Advent, Advent. That is all the Vicar goes on about. Whenever we ask if we can sing a carol, “not while it’s Advent.”

He should move with the times. Once there was a time of foreboding, preparation, self-reproach, self-denial and then a time of feasting.

But we have credit cards now. We get all the feasting in first, and then the self-loathing happens in January.

Yours etc

Rob Runes, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

I would like to complain again about the installation of the icon of Our Lady in Woodby church. Since this piece of art has been in our building, people have been coming from far and near to see it.

Quite spoils the look of the place, having people in there.

Yours etc

Felicity Broadstairs, Tremlett Road, Woodby


Dear Sir

I see the Vicar is insisting, once again, on allowing the school to hold a Nativity in the Church. He has not thought through the consequences.

If we start welcoming them and making them think Church is a child-friendly place, they might start coming along the rest of the year. The evidence of the last 40 years is that this is a low-risk strategy. But you never know. We are playing with fire.

Yours etc

Ciara Meringe, The Old Stables, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again, after buying too many deals in October, I have spent November in a mince pie-induced state of alternative consciousness.

But as we enter December I notice that many of the hundreds of packets I bought at reduced prices have gone out of code. What to do?

Never fear! Break them down with a rolling pin, moisten them with a drop – not too much – of water and you have what I call my “Deconstructed Christmas.” A showstopper for any Festive Bake Off.

Of course, as we move through Advent, the sugar in the pies starts to ferment, giving the mix a bit more of a kick  But it really makes bath time special! Well, it does for me. Mrs Dumpling says she’s not getting in the bath with 300 battered mince pies, and she’s showering next door till I’ve eaten them or taken them out.

Yours etc

Major J Dumpling, “Rodney’s Rest”, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

As treasurer of the parish I am well aware that we are running at a monthly deficit of £74.22. Hence my suggestion of a special new 2018 calendar, the “Trim Valley Calendar Boy.” 13 shots of your favourite church treasurer, with well-known pieces of accounting equipment hiding any of the more intimate bodily areas.

I regret to say that we have sold none. Mrs Dranesqueezer says she doesn’t know why we used the stapler in one shot when a pencil sharpener would have done. A cruel woman, Mrs Dranesqueezer. Although other people have noted that Grilsby Church can get very cold, with reference to “Mr February.”

Of course in producing this calendar I have run up some expenses for the photo shoot and  printing. I therefore enclose an invoice for £7,422.

Yours etc

Norbert Dranesqueezer, Chester St, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

As Christmas approaches, we all ask ourselves that important question – whatever happened to David Icke? I hope he hasn’t been kidnapped by lizards.

Yours etc

Jeremy Stairswell, Crow Lane, Grilsby on the Hill


Dear Sir

You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot.

Happy Christmas

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

As Dr Ireland rightly launches her anti-mistletoe campaign this year, can I say a word about Christmas Jumpers?

Tasteless.

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

The plans of the Trim Valley Wakes to walk around the villages overnight on Christmas Eve have been cancelled. Apparently it might be cold and dark! Who knew?

Yours etc

Romilly Randers, Cave Road, Little Tremlett


Dear Sir

As the Christmas Time approaches, a poem of hope in new life.

THE BULB AWAKES

As drear December takes nature to death

And e’en the sun seems to struggle for breath

On its voyage from east to darkening west

Ever lower, looking for its rest,

Within a stalker garden, half-unseen

A little patch of newborn green.

What bravery against the night

The brightness of this stubborn sight

Oh crocus, heartening little friend

You’re still gonna be dead in the end.

And robin redbreast, shining bright

You’ll pass into the beckoning night.

Holly and ivy, lush and green

You’ll head into the dark unseen.

And carollers upon your way

Rotary Club Santa on on your sleigh

And chuggers, seeking charitable cash

You’re all soon just some dust and ash.

And vicar with your words so sage

You’ll not resist the call of age.

Oh even the church that calls the town

To prayer, will one day be pulled down.

Death, death, death.
Death, death, death.
Death, death, death.
Death, death, death.

Wishing you all a joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Yours etc

Melissa Sparrow (Mrs), The Hollow, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious

escaped donkey

that an author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pewsis probably the book for you.

Written by the creator of this blog, with cartoons by Dave Walker. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. And don’t forget it’s nearly Christmas!